While the Trump Administration Hydra grows a new venomous head nearly every hour, a handful of Senate Republicans are quietly trying to push through an Obamacare replacement bill before the July 4th recess.
We know that access to Medicaid and reproductive health is on the chopping block, but beyond that, no one really knows what’s at stake because the bill is being drafted in private. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to secure at least 50 votes before he even releases a draft of the bill, which is, per CNN, expected to bypass a committee hearing and vote before it hits the floor. That could happen as early as next week. Explaining the twisted logic of lawmakers who seem to have forgotten that they serve the public, CNN writes, “Reveal it too soon and criticism from outside conservative groups, independent reviews, and Democrats could have the bill unravel before it hits the floor.”
Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso told CNBC on Monday that 52 Republican Senators are “all wanting to get to yes to find a solution,” and believes “we’re going to vote before the July 4th recess.” Happy Independence (From Having Health Insurance) Day, America.
Even some Republicans are frustrated by the closed-door meetings. “The process is better if you do it in public, and that people get buy-in along the way and understand what’s going on. Obviously, that’s not the route that is being taken,” Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker told the New York Times. “Until I see the bill and the (Congressional Budget Office) assessment of the bill, I’m not going to feel comfortable taking a position,” Maine Sen. Susan Collins told CNN.
Senate Democrats, meanwhile, are outraged. They are reportedly planning to bring the chamber to a halt starting Monday in protest to force Republicans to bring the bill to a committee rather than directly to the floor and to delay the vote. They will also block requests that require unanimous consent or at least 60 votes.
“If Republicans won’t relent and debate their health care bill in the open for the American people to see, then they shouldn’t expect business as usual in the Senate,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer in a statement. “Republicans are drafting this bill in secret because they’re ashamed of it, plain and simple.”